1697 opens dense and hugely overwhelming. A MASSIVE combination of thick, syrupy booze (rum), matured with a bucket load of fragrant, culinary spices – cinnamon, clove, pink pepper. There’s a thick vanilla underneath, a burnt tonka bean vibe – it’s like a booze drenched Arabie, or Aziyade. I first smelt this briefly in Paris, and was totally knocked sick from it, I found it hideous… as vanilla heavy (particularly boozy) fragrances often go on my skin… but revisiting it now… I’m bowled over by it.
This thick, complicated syrup is counterbalanced by some herbal notes… in honesty, I have no idea what they could be… bay leaf? Lavender even? There’s something fragrant in there that makes this not an all out boozy-gourmand-spicy-resinous thing. I’d say “thankfully”, but I’m not really, 1697 settles pretty quickly. I love that opening, and wish the huge overload of spices and rum would continue for hours and hours, similar to how to complicated opening of Eau D’Epices continues to be mindblowing-ly complex, well into the heart. However, 1697 relaxes into a much softer scent, that I guess is easier to tolerate.
What happens as it quietens down, and melts into your skin, is the tonka/vanilla pushes forward, the faintest hint of rose and maybe even almond? – give this a creamy, plush skin smell – kept interesting by that remaining (and relatively hefty dose of) spiced rum. The whole feel of it is both comforting, luxurious and extremely elegant… Cuir Ottoman springs to mind out of my collection as something that makes me feel the same. I’ve always loved this kind of spice basket and dried fruit scent (the fruit here being dates, raisins – but with a more golden feel? Papaya? Mango? – well, the thought is there). I’ve never sprung for a bottle of something like this though, I guess I’ve been exploring the ground. But THIS… this might just be the one.
The drydown actually reminds me of Ambre Narguille (which I thought was pretty shit) – but done better of course. A refined, slightly plastic-y, slightly play-doh-y vanilla scent (you all know vanilla drydowns are generally not my thing)… and also to a lesser extent the tobacco/vanilla finale of Luctor et Emergo. Whilst it’s subtlety and restraint in the late drydown as it all falls into place is a slight let down from the truly glorious opening, I can still easily see myself with a bottle of this in the veryyyyyy near future.
Another quick comparison I’d also like to make, is how the rose in here smells very similar to Mohur by Neela Vermeire, a fragrance that totally didn’t work for me at all… here however? It all slips into perfect place.
A wonderful Duchaufour creation (and just as I thought I was sick to death of him!).
Frapin 1697 – 100ml EDP £135 – http://www.bloomperfume.co.uk